Eastminister United Church
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From the Pastor’s Pen – March 25, 2020

From the Pastor’s Pen

25th March, 2020

We are now into the second week of the COVID-19 induced shut down. Many of you will be feeling the pace of the constant developments and added restrictions on work and movement.  Since I last wrote, various levels of government have imposed a State of Emergency, significant travel restrictions, a ban on all non-essential businesses, and a lock-down – we all must “stay home,” except when we need food and prescriptions.

News outlets keep feeding us statistics.  Reports from Italy and Spain among other countries are ominous.  The virus is now in the Quinte Region with a number of confirmed cases and I would venture to suggest many, many actual but unconfirmed (by lab results) cases. We are no longer able to say that the chances of contracting the virus in Quinte are low.  One of our members who allowed me to share his family’s story last week has now informed me that seven members of his family are now battling the virus.  Several are in serious condition and need our deepest prayers.  The virus seems to have been contracted in Portugal. The couple arrived home and did not know that they had it and interacted with other family members (it was before the government recommendations of self-isolation for travellers). Very unfortunately, during the pre-symptomatic period, others caught the virus.

These are troubling times.  Some are liking them to war and suggesting that we must treat the sacrifices that must be made with as much zeal as individuals treated the sacrifices made in the last war.  While I would not wish to compare the two, the restrictions that we are now encountering are not easy, particularly for young families with children who want to play and seniors who are alone.  How will we get through for weeks and weeks and weeks?

I have started reading some of the sermons of Harry Emerson Fosdick again.  Fosdick was the esteemed minister of the equally esteemed Riverside Church in New York during the Second World War. In his sermon entitled, “Living Under Tension,” he reminds us that Christians live, as it were, in two worlds. There is the physical, visible world that, especially at war-time, exhibits “an unheralded mass of human misery.” But, there is also another realm, the invisible, the realm of spirit, with its faiths, its ideals, its visions of beauty and right.” In our situation, Fosdick may well have asked, “How will we endure if all we see are the things of this world – the frustrations of doctors in Italy with scarce medical resources? The pictures of hospital corridors filled with patients lying on the floor untreated? The thoughts of loved ones passing away without a family member at their side? Fosdick reminds us of how Moses endured and led the children of Israel away from the great power of Pharaoh because he had seen something else.  Moses drew on the power of the Immortal, Invisible and the invisible world (Hebrews 11:27). The virus is developing around us now and Fosdick would say, “Granite is needed in our characters today. No softness can see this through. We must endure.”  And we can endure because Christians see through the tensions of this world.  We see another, one that is unshaken and unshakable, a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul. We see a world founded on a power greater than anything we can imagine. It is the power of the One, eternal God, and in him …

We have an anchor that keeps the soul

Steadfast and sure while the billows roll,

Fastened to the rock which cannot move,

grounded firm and deep in the Saviour’s love!

Dr. David McMaster

Here’s a lovely song if you’re interested.  The lyrics speak of deep trust in God.

Trust in You by Lauren Daigle.

Here’s the link: